Why Do My Hips Ache At Night
As an athlete, it’s important that you have good flexibility and mobility for your sport. The good news is that while there are some things we can’t change about our bodies (such as bone structure), most physical problems can be improved with proper stretching and movement exercises. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to treat themselves – especially when they suffer from chronic pain. This article will help readers understand why their hips hurt at night, and then show them how to stretch out the muscles so that this problem doesn’t keep occurring over-and-over again.
Most cases of hip pain at night occur as a result of lying directly on the painful soft tissue structures to the side or back of the hip. If you lie on the opposite side, these same soft tissue structures may be placed in a stretched position, causing hip pain when lying down. It also occurs because of placing weight on the affected limb, such as walking with poor foot placement, standing in one place too long, or sitting in one position for too long without moving. In addition, tight hip flexors, weak glutes, tight piriformis muscle, and tight quadratus lumborum muscle all contribute to hip pain at night.
In order to understand what causes hip pain at night, it helps to first consider how the hip works. The hip consists of three bones – the femur (thighbone) and two pelvic girdles – the acetabulum (cup) and the pubic symphysis (fibrous joint). The small ball and socket between the thighbone and the cup allows the leg to move forward and backward, which is called abduction. Ligaments, tendons, and muscles connect the pelvis to the lower part of the leg, allowing the legs to rotate around the joints. When any of these areas become inflamed due to injury or disease, pain often radiates from the area.
When you lie down, the body wants to put its weight evenly onto both sides of the spine by distributing the weight equally across each vertebrae and the discs that separate them. Since the hips are not symmetrical, this distribution cannot happen equally on both sides. There is more pressure placed on the left side of the hip, where the right leg lies flat on the ground, than on the right side of the hip, where the left leg rests on the ground. For example, if you sleep on your stomach, your left buttock will rest against the mattress, putting tremendous stress upon the left hip. Not only does this cause inflammation, but it can also lead to herniated disc material pressing into the nerve root exit near the spinal canal. As a result, the pain radiating from the hip may extend through the buttocks toward the sciatic nerves.
If you’re experiencing discomfort during certain activities or movements, you should consult a medical professional. However, if your hip aches at night, try the stretches below to relieve your pain.
Stretch 1: Hip Flexor Stretch
Lie on your back with arms extended above your head. Bend your knees 90 degrees and place your feet together. Lower your heels towards your buttocks until your toes lightly touch the floor. You’ll feel a stretch in the front of your thighs. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch sides.
Benefits: Stretches the iliopsoas muscle, a large muscle running underneath your hip capsule along the front of your thigh, then connects those muscles to your lower leg.
Stretch 2: Gluteal Stretch
Lying on your back, bend your left knee and bring your left heel up to your chest. Wrap your arm behind your head and reach upward toward your shoulder. Then lift your right leg straight up while keeping your torso still. Repeat with your right leg bent and raised. Switch sides.
Benefits: Strengthens the internal and external rotators of the hip, helping to reduce pain caused by instability of the hip joint. Also strengthens your core muscles, helping to stabilize your spine.
Stretch 3: Side Leg Lift
Sit upright on your bed and cross your legs under your abdomen. Place your hands behind your ears. Bring your legs slightly off the bed and raise them just high enough for your calves to come into contact with your inner thighs. Keep your torso upright. Your legs should form a 45 degree angle. Raise your legs slowly until they’re parallel to the ceiling, hold for 5 breaths, and return your legs to the starting position. Repeat five times.
Benefits: Strengthens your abdominal muscles, including your transverse abdominis, which supports the spine.
Stretch 4: Backward Walking Lunge
Stand erect with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms relaxed. Take a big step backward with one leg, landing on the heel of your stance foot. Make sure your back remains straight throughout the exercise. Alternate legs.
Benefits: Stretches the hamstring muscles of your supporting leg, improving circulation and reducing tension.
By following these simple stretches, you can improve your range of motion, increase strength, and decrease pain. If you want to learn more about relieving hip pain, check out my blog post on this subject. I’ve also included links from my site below for further reading.
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